Works for Me Wednesday: Sublimely Easy Pot Roast

Last night's pot roast took me about 5 minutes to assemble, and it was among the best I've ever tasted. Certainly by far the best I've ever made.

1 4-5 lb. chuck roast
1 large portobello mushroom

Rub roast generously with salt and pepper. Place in crock pot. Cut mushroom into cubes, place around roast. Cook on low until supper time. I cooked mine for 10 hours, but we could have eaten it much earlier and it still would have been good. Crock pots are flexible that way.

Maybe next time I'll do more mushrooms. They were sooo good.

Serve with a yummy salad and it definitely works for me!


"Not a child! I'm a children!"

---September P. Baby-Girl Johnston



Winter has come upon us... fast.

I think the weather changes might have seemed a little faster than they really were, if only because we'd finally gotten used to Texas. We're just tooling along as usual, trying to keep the house as cool as we can without going broke, and then poof, one day I wake up to the chattering of my own teeth. Still wrapped in blankets, I trundle over to the thermostat.

72 degrees.

Normal temperatures are going to take some getting used to.


Storytime Continues

I'm having a blast serving as typist to my budding authors. It wasn't my intention to keep posting everything they dictate, but my firstborn is something of an exhibitionist. The moment we were finished, he told me I needed to post it. And... well... I enjoyed it, anyway! =)

Timmo in the Paper

Monsters are going to eat the town. Somebody's gonna stop the monsters. Somebody's gonna stop the dragons, too. The dragons are gonna eat the houses, and the people must stop the dragons. Dinosaurs are gonna eat the paper. Lions drink Ensure.


A Little Story

By September Johnston

The piggy is not taking a nap.

Grandpa's House

By Isaiah Johnston

Grandpa's house is in Supai. We go to the helicopter in Supai. Grandpa lives in Grandpa's house, and Grandma's gonna live in it, too. I go to the water in Supai, too. There's a beach. I go to the beach too. There's water in Supai.

Just Me and My Dump Truck

By Nathan Johnston
To Grandma and Grandpa

Just me in the car with Mommy and Daddy. The critter is going to Crob. He looks out the window, and so he draws a window, and so he draws a car. And so he draws a van. Just me in my car. And Mama and Daddy drives the car first. Just me in my dump truck. The dump truck's for Grandma and Grandpa. Grandpa has a dump truck, and Daddy has a bulldozer. A bulldozer for Daddy. And so he drives a backhoe. Just me and my real truck. Just me in my car.


Works for Me Wednesday: Garlic

I love garlic. I loved garlic before I discovered its amazing infection-fighting properties, but now it's become an absolute staple. Eat enough raw garlic and you're breath will be so bad the bacteria just rolls over and dies. That's my theory, anyway. Not that I'm dispensing medical advice in any way shape or form. But oh my, garlic has sure been there for me when I've gotten sick while traveling or over the weekend.

But that's not what works for me. Although it does! It does! I'm just not even remotely qualified to recommend it. What works for me this Wednesday morning is getting the peels off.

This week I discovered the easiest way to peel garlic. I don't peel it all, I just start slicing. And the peel just falls right off, of it's own accord. Viola! So simple. Works for me!



Nathan didn't want to wear his big boy underwear this morning. He wanted a diaper.

"But Mama, I don't want to pee in my underwear!"

"That's right. You don't pee in your underwear, you're going to pee in the potty."

"I don't want to pee in the potty. "

"Well, I don't want to buy you diapers anymore. Do you have any idea how many books we could buy for what we spend on diapers every month?"

"The library has books. Let's just go to the library."

Alphabetical Disorder

"A's not for bike, okay, Bubba? A is for W."


Excuses, excuses

Lately we've been working with the wuggies on mealtime manners. Particularly the "may I please be excused" part that really ought to come before the hopping off to go play with trains part.

Anyway, this evening I was glad that Isaiah asked to be excused without any prompting... still, I really did want him to wait for an answer before running off.

"Honey, you need to wait for Mama or Dadders to say you can get up. Why don't you get back in your chair and we'll try it again."

"May I be 'scoosed please?

"You need to get back in your chair first."

"May I be 'scoosed please?"

With each repetition he scooted himself just a smidgen further toward his chair, each time hoping that maybe we'd consider that enough. But we didn't, and so after a few repetitions he was in his chair again. Once there, he just grinned up at us happily.

"Didn't you have something you wanted to say, Isaiah?"

Grinning from ear to ear, he proudly surveyed his audience, and made his grand pronouncement.

"Noah's Ark. Noah's ark and the animals."



Nathan thinks we should get a dog named Hatch. We'll feed him bones ("and vitamins!" his brother adds) and take him for walks.

Most importantly, though, we'll fill the house with sheep for him to herd.


Good day. Bad day.

Yesterday was a great day. It was the day our new piano arrived. It's in bad need of a tune, but it's so pretty, and even when it's out of tune, I'm very happy with the tone and touch. I can't wait to get it tuned!

Yesterday was also the day that the I told the delivery men to put the piano over by the window, forgetting that the window was over by the back door, the piano would get bashed every time they opened the door. Once Andy got home, scooting it over 9 inches solved everything, but do you have any idea how impossible it is for one petite woman to scoot a piano anywhere at all?

Yesterday was not the day that Andrew's lenses broke, but it was the day he had to go to work with one lens, thus making it the day I insisted on piling the kids into the car and driving him to work, and also the day we picked him up after work and drove him to LensCrafters. LensCrafties might be the better name, as they quote one price over the phone, twice that in person, and won't let you buy lenses without the frames. Maybe the second price quote included the frames? Either way, it was confusing, and more than we wanted to pay.

But the mall also had an EyeMasters, and so we each got a complete set of glasses for less than LensCrafter's more conservative quote for the lenses alone. In the hypothetical world where they would let us do that, of course. So all in all, it was a good day for glasses.

This would have been a full, exhausting day anyway, even if the kids hadn't flushed something down the toilet.

But at least that something appears to have been nothing more than a full roll of toilet paper. It all seems to have passed through, so we don't have to worry about unclogging the pipes. Which is a very good thing, the flood is quite enough trouble, thankyouverymuch.

Yesterday, it rained, and that pretty much sums it up. The air was sparkling fresh, the roads were borderline flooded, the lightning storm was spectacularly beautiful, and we were soaking wet.

But hey, we got a free car wash.



"I'm going to grow up to be the littlest man to drive a big white car."

Adjusted Expectations

There's no way I would have gone to him, except that Tony said he was amazing, and Tony's a pretty sane, level headed sort of guy. I can't imagine that he would recommend a New Age quack.

Still, the website talked an awful lot about reflexes... so I was a little nervous.

Lo and behold, he did a thorough exam of my reflexes, but nothing kooky at all. All very straightforward, just a check to make sure there was nothing wrong with any of my reflexes, everything clear, okay, let's move on. He didn't decide where to adjust my back based on a series of arm wrestling competitions, instead simply relying on the x-rays and his manual exam of my back. Which I'm told is terribly imprecise--mere alignment is no subsitute for arm wrestling and oija boards--but I feel very safe. All the more so because this chiropractor chooses to refrain from beating on the really thoroughly stuck spots. His approach is to simply straighten out everything that will move easily, and save the rest for next time. As opposed to fixing everything and expecting that it will all undo itself within a few hours.

It was all so very, very sensible and straightforward.

And I'm about 2 inches taller now.



First Day of School

It came! It came! They shipped the package on Monday (even though it was a holiday) and said it should be here in 3-5 business days. But two days later, here it is, and we're all very excited.

So this afternoon we started in on the pre-k/kindergarten curriculum from Sonlight. I did Sonlight for one year in high school, and fell head over heels in love. I'm rather jealous of my sister, since she was able to do it from 3rd grade on. Just one year was enough to sell me on great books education.

Not that they classify themselves as "Great Books." I guess they're really more of a "good books" program. It's not all classics, it's just all really great, really age-appropriate books. Everything you learn is woven in and out of lots of really fantastic books.

It's a lot like Torrey, even though the emphasis is very different. Torrey attempts to train students to transform our culture, so the focus is on the classics, and digging deep into the roots of Western civilization. Sonlight, on the other hand, is very concerned with foreign missions, and so the curriculum emphasizes world cultures. But underneath it all, both programs have the same approach to knowledge as something real and whole. And that matters a whole lot.

John Gatto says that the main thing kids learn at school is school itself, and I think he's right. This curriculum is all about teaching kids that education is interconnected, full of dialogue, and deeply meaningful.

I'm excited. This is going to be a blast.